Revelation 5:6 “And I saw between the throne…and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain.”

Observation: John had been given a vision of heaven’s throne and of one sitting on the throne holding an unopened book in His right hand. One of the elders identified Jesus as the only one qualified to open the book (Rev. 5:5) because He was “standing as one slain.”

Application: Whatever else I may think of Jesus, I ought to put out of my mind the idea that His time on earth was simply a thirty-three year interruption in His otherwise eternal dance with the Father. This life for Him wasn’t just a fleshly intrusion upon His heavenly existence, merely the longest timeshare exchange in history.

I must understand that He became a man forever, never again to morph back into only God-ness. As evidence, I see His appearance as one slain. The King of kings, the Creator and Lord of the universe, opened a book with hands still bearing marks of mangling by the rough spikes of crucifixion. He carried these marks directly to the throne of God as His qualification to open the book. Later I see “myriads of myriads” of angels, living creatures and elders around the throne, all shouting loudly, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12). His being slain: what an astonishing qualifier to open the book.

But my own death comes into focus when in Revelation 6:9 the souls of countless men and women who have died for their faith speak out. Crying from beneath the altar, they asked God how long He would refrain from avenging their blood. Then comes this sobering response: they should “rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also” (v. 11).

Since Christ came voluntarily to be my sacrificial Lamb, and since these dead saints were killed for their voluntary testimony of Him, isn’t there suggested here an invitation for me as well to lay down my life for my King? Or do I really, deep down, prefer to view His trip here as little more than a timeshare exchange? I can never know whether the laying down of flesh’s pursuits will result in my physical execution or merely my final freedom from sin’s grasp. But if He is exalted for being slain, if His death was my paid entry fee into eternal life, should I not resolve to join that company of slain brethren? My attainment of everlasting life comes at a terrible price, but it isn’t just a price He paid; it requires my own payment, as well.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You call me to become as You are, to identify with You in death, burial, and resurrection. Show me moment by moment how to participate more fully in Your life; show me what I must still die to in order to gain Your life.